Upper Darby Township & Upper Darby School District
Joint press release
School Safety Committee
In October 2011 Thomas N. Micozzie, Mayor Upper Darby Township and Maureen Carey, President Upper Darby School Board formed a committee tasked with the review of Township school safety issues. Over the past 18 months this committee has met to assess and review school safety measures, specifically along the Lansdowne Avenue corridor. The Committee members recently issued a report and several recommendations. The committee has also agreed to continue their work and will assess and review safety and security issues and measures related to all Upper Darby Schools.
The committee members are:
- Nate Goodson --- Upper Darby Councilman - Chairman Public Safety Committee
- Dominick Spigarelli Deputy District Attorney Juvenile Division
- Michael Chitwood Superintendent Upper Darby Police Department
- Sherri L. Eyer, Esquire, Local Attorney
- Ken Rucci Board Member Upper Darby School District
- Daniel McGarry Asst. Superintendent Upper Darby School District
- Chris Dormer Principal Upper Darby High School
- Thomas Stewart Assistant Principal Student Service Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast
- Louis Gentile Security Upper Darby School District
- Edward Doyle -- CSERT Safety acted as committee Facilitator.
Questions should be directed to:
Public Information Coordinator
610.789.7200 X 3226
The committee was charged with assessing and reviewing current school safety measures, including those associated with the arrival and dismissal of students on the Lansdowne Avenue corridor.
The following were the main topics discussed by the committee between December 2011 and March 2013.
The main topic for discussion was dismissal time and the number of students in the corridor at one time. Although adjusting dismissal times was discussed it is apparent that the issue has many ancillary factors that make adjusting more than an easy task. These factors include the impact on instructional time and coordinating the logistics of the transportation schedule. Dismissal will remain as is and the School District will continue to explore additional ways to minimize students in the corridor at dismissal time. Some ways may include:
- Early dismissal of 1,000 students in conjunction with the Delaware County Community College Program (January 2013)
- Archbishop Prendergast/Monsignor Bonner will operate as one facility (June 2012)
- Consider community outreach to discuss potential issues and solicit community response and assistance. (Hand Man count LED signals are installed at all the intersection on Lansdowne Ave between State and Garrett Road).
- Possible widening of the crosswalks and adding the new timed signals to select locations to assist in moving student more efficiently and safely.
To provide a safe school and community environment, there will be the continued sharing of information between the School District and the Upper Darby Police. Discussions early on seemed to indicate that additional information sharing needs to occur between the Police and the School District. After review, the Committee believes the current information sharing system is working. Only positives can come from communication and sharing of information; it helps avoid perception taking the place of facts.
Establish the School Safety Committee as a standing committee to help ensure the lines of communications are open and that safety issues whether they are township, school district, community, or student concerns are discussed and addressed in a timely manner. The School Safety Committee should meet on a monthly basis.
School Resource support
During the school year, the Upper Darby School Safety Committee will continually review the functions and job description of the School Safety Officer position.
The School Safety Committee will work with the School District to look at available grants and funding opportunities that will provide for additional training and resources associated with school safety.
Visibility at Key Locations
Continue to provide the presence of the Upper Darby Police at Lansdowne & Garrett Roads and Lansdowne & State Roads and also other areas deemed necessary. This activity has been productive in reducing potential student issues. Revisions will be made to the key locations as necessary.
Prior to the start of the 2013-2014 school year Upper Darby Township will install additional cameras through the existing school security system at key locations at or near the State Road McDonald’s - Exxon Gas station area. The township will work with the Upper Darby School district and Archbishop Prendergast/ Monsignor Bonner in an effort to identify funding to expand the camera coverage to the Lansdowne Ave and Garrett road intersection.
School Courts and Processes
Enhance and revise the school district truancy and fight courts. Revisions have been made to the present system to ensure the courts are operating on a scheduled basis. The fight court has revisited their procedures which are outlined in the attached document.
The School District and the Upper Darby Police will continue the testing and monitoring of the lockdown procedures to ensure their effectiveness and efficiency. The School District and the Upper Darby Police department will continue to work together for ways to improve the lockdown drill system.
The School District will continue to refine and retool the central registration process to help ensure it maintains its designed purpose.
In addition, the School District is committed to the continual investigation and subsequent actions in dealing of illegal students.
Summary and Recommendations
- School District will continue to explore additional ways to minimize students in the corridor at dismissal time.
- Continue to review the line of communication between all parties including School District, Police, District Attorney, Courts. Make sure this committee meets monthly and identifies any break down in communications.
- Increase visibility at key locations by the use of cameras. Install cameras on school district property at or near the intersection of Lansdowne Ave and State Road-
- Enhance and revise the School District truancy and fight courts. The school security staff should work with the Upper Darby police to review/update the lockdown system at all schools. Continue to test and monitor lockdown drills.
- Continually review the central registration process, investigations and actions related to illegal students.
- Continue to review general safety issues at all Schools in the Upper Darby School District.